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DVD Slideshow Builder - Need to Make HD DVD Slideshows?

written by: Andy Dunn•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/30/2011

Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is a solid slideshow creator with many output options, including HD DVD. My only concern is its apparent lack of online technical support.

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    Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is so easy to use that without having to read the manual or use help, I had a slideshow up and running in a few seconds. It may not have been a very professional slideshow, but in a matter of clicks I had a fully DVD-compliant slideshow. This application has several more advanced features than its competitors, but you don't have to use them as the defaults are all very smart. It's the sort of application that I could put in front of my mum and she would probably find it easy to use.

    I found the lack of online support worrying; the company is based in China and the FAQ and help show it.
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    Help & Support

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp
    There is an online FAQ and email support.

    What's Not:&nbsp
    There are a lot of FAQ entries; however, many of them have been written by a non-native English speaker. The template installation issue that I found was not in the FAQ.

    When I emailed tech support, I got a response stating that there would be a reply in one to two business days. I never got a reply. As a result, I never got the additional templates, so cannot review those.

    There is no online forum, nor a U.S. phone number to call.
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    User Interface

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp
    The UI is very attractive, intuitive, and functional. I didn't have to look in the help to work out any of the functions.

    What's Not:&nbsp
    • Why is the transition selection a pop-up dialog, but the image motion effect a slide-out toolbar? This is not very consistent.
    • The transition chooser is a small dialog box with no way to resize it--this means a lot of scrolling to see all of the choices.
    • This application runs at two sizes: full screen or 800 by 600. Why? What is wrong with allowing me to resize the window?

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    Price to Value

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp
    This is a well polished application for the $50.

    What's Not:&nbsp
    For $50, I expect some additional content to be included. Competitors offer clip art and sample music. There appears to be an add-on pack available for download, but I was never able to successfully install it. SInce it's not large, I don't know why it's not just included with the application, as this would increase the value a lot.
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    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp
    The application performs very well. Burning a disc is accompanied by a very detailed progress indicator.

    What's Not:&nbsp
    However, the progress indicators need some work. They really don't estimate well. Check out the screenshot below where they estimate 99 hours to create the movie. As the progress moved on, the time kept dropping; it took about eight minutes in the end.
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    Installation & Setup

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp
    It was a nice, simple install with a choice of languages and no complicated options to choose from.

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    Product Features

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp
    • Adding and removing images and music are quick and easy.
    • You can edit transitions, durations, and motion effects per slide, or you can choose to randomize across the whole slideshow.
    • The transition editor has a wide range of choices and options for repeating across the frame for even more effects.
    • You can record a sound track for each image--this is a great feature for explaining to Grandma who is in a photograph, for example.
    • The application comes with six root menu templates for the DVD and the ability to create your own using a background picture, music, and text.
    • You can output the slideshow in many formats:
      DVD, HD DVD, VCD, MPEG (I, II, or 4), WMV (for Zune), AVI, and 3GP (for phones).

      What's Not:&nbsp
      • When I tried to add images from a network share, I got the following error message: "Can not add the media files from your mobile memorizer directly - please copy them to your hard drive first." This seems like a pretty rough limitation.
      • There is an option to download extra templates from the Wondershare website. These templates come in the form of EXE files, which makes me a little nervous. However, after downloading and extracting the files, they failed to install with an error message.
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    Create slide showEdit transitionsModify imageCreate motion effectsCreate DVD menuModify the DVD menusPreview your DVDCreate slideshowReally - 99 hours to render!!
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    Suggested Features

    It would be nice if the program allowed some kind of web output--either HTML pages or Flash. It should also support network shares--it assumes they are removable drives.
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    Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder is a solid all-round performer: very easy to use, very nice looking, and full of good features. That's all good because if you need support, you are probably not going to get any.